In the 1970s, Saturday Night Live debuted a band of comedy geniuses known as the "Not Ready for Prime-time Players". In the early 1970s, the Steelers were building a legacy to find their way into the national conversation. Both groups became legendary and helped pave the way for those who came after.
Now in 2017, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a share of the prime-time spotlight. Of their final seven games of the NFL season, five will be unopposed on national television. There’s a Thursday night affair against Tennessee at home, two home Sunday nighters against Green Bay and Baltimore, a Monday nighter at Cincy, a 4:25 on Sunday 12/18 against the Pats and a 4:25 Christmas Day game in Houston. The Steelers typically do well in the spotlight. Since 2006 when NBC took over Sunday Night Football, Pittsburgh is 18-13 on SNF and 11-3 on Monday Night Football. Further, the team is 8-6 on Thursdays, 1-1 on Thanksgiving, 1-0 on Christmas and 24-20 in late-afternoon games on Sundays (typically 4:25 p.m.).
The Thursday, Monday and Christmas games are set in stone. The SNF games and the 4:25 game against the Pats are subject to change if need be. The Pats game likely would be protected by CBS. There's no way that "the eye" would want to lose that showcase of great NFL teams. The SNF games are a different story though.
With Aaron Rodgers out of action and the Pack in free-fall, NBC may want to flex out that Week-12 contest. But these are two legendary teams with great national followings and there are fewer games to choose from because of the three Thanksgiving games that week. The three best possibilities to replace that game would be Buffalo at Kansas City, Miami at New England and New Orleans visiting the L.A. Rams.
The Steelers-Ravens have always been a strong draw nationally as well. However the Ravens are 4-5 and, by the time Week 14 rolls around, they might be plummeting further down towards the cellar. While this pairing is always a game worthy of Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth, there are plenty of more-attractive options. While it hasn't been disclosed which games Fox and CBS are protecting, Seattle at Jacksonville, Vikings at Panthers and Raiders-Chiefs are solid alternatives. The best of the bunch might be Philadelphia at the Los Angeles Rams. If that's not protected, I would think "the peacock" would snap it up.
The networks have to give twelve days notice on flexing out games, so we should know about the Packers-Steelers game by next week at the latest. As a guy that no longer enjoys staying up too late to watch football, I'm rooting for the flex back to traditional Sunday afternoons.